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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Fletcher backs blundering Jones
Geraint Jones
Like anyone who drops a catch, he'll be upset
Fletcher on Jones (above)

England coach Duncan Fletcher backed Geraint Jones after two keeping lapses on day three of the third Test ensured Shane Warne stayed at the crease.

Jones missed a stumping and dropped a catch as Warne, unbeaten on 78, steered Australia past the follow-on.

"Like anyone who drops a catch, he'll be upset. He's got to make sure he's got the character to handle that."

Fletcher said both sides had dropped chances and insisted Jones was still the right choice for England.

"I've watched a lot of cricket when I am not with England and I have seen (Adam) Gilchrist drop them, (Mark) Boucher drop many, (Kumar) Sangakkara drop many for Sri Lanka and keepers for India do the same.

"Most of the sides around the world want to go for a batter that can keep wicket and if you go for that policy you have to expect a couple of chances to go begging."

Just 14 overs were bowled on the rain-hit third day, with Australia progressing from 214-7 to 264-7 - a deficit of 180 runs.

Warne belted Ashley Giles to all parts to hit his highest Ashes score and make sure Australia would not have to follow on for the first time in 17 years.

But Fletcher revealed England would have not asked Australia to bat again even if they had the choice.

"There's a very good chance we would have batted again. You don't know how the wicket's going to end up on the last day if the sun comes out for two days," he said.

Fletcher lamented the bad weather in Manchester after England had finished Friday's play with such gusto.

"It's a little bit unfortunate. It would have been nice to have gone at them early this morning with the momentum built up yesterday," the England coach said.

"And it would have been important. If we'd got [three] wickets it would have been interesting to see their bowlers having to bowl early this morning.

"There's still a lot of cricket left. Hopefully this will be an exciting Test match and there will be a good result."

Interview: England coach Duncan Fletcher


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